TUBE staff today accused London Underground of planning to re-privatise parts of the network, as 72-hour strikes on three lines began.
The strikers work for Tube Lines, a once-privatised maintenance outfit that came back under the ownership of London Underground in 2010 following severe financial troubles.
But Tube Lines staff have not been brought back into the London Underground fold as far as pensions and other benefits are concerned – that’s the strike issue – and now the RMT union thinks it knows why.
“The inexplicable refusal of London Underground to agree to equalise pensions and benefits rights for our maintenance members is deeply suspect and points to a secret plan to re-privatise this work,” said RMT leader Bob Crow.
“We understand there are already vulture companies hovering in the wings for another shot at robbing London blind and reducing the network to chaos.”
Labour’s London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone called on Tory rival Boris Johnson to at least meet the RMT to help end the dispute, pointing out Johnson hasn’t met Tube unions once in four years.
“This strike is completely unnecessary and could be averted if only Boris Johnson took responsibility and met the transport unions to resolve this dispute,” said Livingstone.